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Best Road Bikes for Women

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - April 28, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Reviews, Road Bike, Women's Bikes
Women's road bikes

Image source: Liv Cycles

Road cycling is said to be the quickest way to lose weight and get in shape, fast! It is also the fastest way to commute and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Anyway, whether you are looking for a road bike as your second bike to a hybrid or a mountain bike, or simply want a bike to race with—down below you’ll find a selection of the best women’s road bikes in 2022.

Men’s vs. Women’s Road Bikes

Men’s vs. Women’s road bikes. How to tell that a road bike is women-specific? Is it the colors or the geometry?

  • The most distinct feature that is usually found on women’s road bicycles is a lowered top tube. This makes it easier for a shorter person to mount the bike but is also a feature from the old days when women typically wore dresses.
  • Women’s bikes are also usually a bit smaller, with a shorter reach and lower standover height. However, a taller woman could just as easily ride a standard size men’s road bike.

Nowadays, these features are still present on many women-specific bikes but are largely unnecessary. Choosing the best women’s road bike is no different from choosing the best men’s – simply find the right frame geometry that best fits your body measurements.

Can you use a road bike for everyday commuting? Yes, you certainly can, but bear in mind that a road bike that’s been properly fitted to your body might not be as comfortable

Best women’s road bike brands: Cannondale, Specialized, Bianchi, Liv, Canyon, etc.

Best Women’s Road Bikes of 2022


1. Schwinn – Volare 1400

Best women’s road bike for beginners!

Schwinn Volare 1400

The Schwinn Volare 1400 is the perfect entry-budget bike for ‘Sunday riders’ who are looking for the cheapest way into road cycling. It is comfortable, robust, and well suited for short commutes. The Volare’s alloy frame has a steel fork that comes in two sizes 48 CM and 53 CM. Although it is a budget bike it comes with a Shimano Tourney groupset. This is a suitable bike for a cyclist who intends to ride the bike occasionally, in other words – for someone who is not interested in high performance.

The Volare offers a great upgrade from a flat-bar bike as the rider can feel the huge difference in terms of speed and better climbing qualities.

Since the bike has a drop bar handlebar, the rider has three different positions for their hands – the hoods, drops, and tops. The described features allow the cyclist to be able to ride further than with a flat-bar bike.  Painted power all purple including frame and fork; this bike screams “Girl Power”!! which will attract the younger female riders.

Aluminum / 2×7 speed Shimano Tourney / 700x28c

Buy on Amazon


2. Bianchi – Infinito CV

A high-end road bike

A green Bianchi CV Disc Ultegra Women's Carbon Road Bike

MSRP: $4,500

Although this is not a women-specific frame, Bianchi is one of the oldest road bike manufacturers in the world, harking back to late 19th century Italy. Their light blue frames are instantly recognizable, having won many famous road races over the years. The Infinito CV women’s road bicycle from Bianchi is one of its top-end offerings, coming in a lightweight full carbon frame with high-quality gears, wheels, and brakes. 

This is one of the best high-end yet affordable road bikes on the market, aimed at professional riders who intend on competing in races. Although there is no women-specific model, it comes in seven sizes to fit anyone from 5’4″ to 6’6″.

  • Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 418
  • Brakes: Hydraulic, flat mount

Carbon / 2×11 Shimano Ultegra / 700x28c

Buy on CompetitiveCyclist.com


3. Tommaso – Fascino

Best Women’s Road Bike Under $1,000

A black Tommaso Fascino Womens Aluminum road bike

MSRP: $880

The Fascino from Tommaso is technically a women’s road bike for beginners but considering the low price, it offers excellent value for money. With a lightweight aluminum frame and Tommaso Corsa alloy rims, it weighs less than the average aluminum road bike at only 23.6 lbs (10.7kg).

Tommaso Fascino Review

Tommaso is a direct-to-consumer cycling brand based out of Denver, Colorado. The company was founded in Italy in ...

The drivetrain is a full Shimano Tourney set, offering a smooth shifting and braking experience integrated into the drop bars. The strong, rigid frame is designed with compact geometry for better power transference and includes mount points for a pannier rack. It also features a steel fork that better absorbs shock to provide a smoother cycling experience.

  • Weight: 23.6 lbs
  • Wheels: 23mm deep, Tommaso Corsa TC20
  • Brakes: Shimano Tourney brakes & shifters

This is most likely the best women’s entry-level road bike that will actually last, and offer heaps of miles. Unlike some cheaper bikes at this price level, Tommaso uses only good quality parts and doesn’t cut any corners on the Fascino. It’s a great bike to get into road cycling and start training for your first competitive race.

Aluminum / 3×7 Shimano Tourney / 700x25c

  • More from Tommaso under $1,000: Imola (In 3 different colors), Forcella (In 2 different colors)

Buy on TommasoCycling.com


4. Cannondale – Topstone 1 

cannondale topstone 1

MSRP: $2,300
REI

Cannondale Topstone is a great comfortable commuter, gravel grinder, and go-anywhere bike!

This female road bike from Cannondale is also a tough gravel bike designed for getting off-road and exploring the countryside, hitting some dirt trails, or taking a single track through the mountains. The strong alloy frame and thick Vittoria Terreno Zero 38mm tires can tackle all kinds of terrain, from pavement and cobblestones to loose dirt and rocky country lanes.

It’s fitted with a 2×11-speed Shimano GRX groupset which includes its Shadow rear derailleur – specifically designed to handle bumpy, off-road conditions. The groupset also features Shimano hydraulic disc brakes that provide instant stopping power in both wet and dry weather. For the price, it really is a great offer, as you’ll struggle to find a better gravel bike for less.

Get out there and explore to your heart’s content, confident that the Cannondale Topstone 1 will get you home again.

  • Brakes: Shimano GRX Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Rims: WTB ST i23 TCS
  • Weight: 22lbs 9.6 oz

SmartForm C2 Aluminum frame / 2×11 Speed Shimano GRX / 700x38c

Buy on REI.com


5. Ridley – Liz Disc 105

Best carbon road bike at this price range

Ridley Liz Disc 105

MSRP: $3,099
Backcountry

This full-carbon women’s road bike from Ridley uses diamond-shaped tubing for a durable, impact-resistant frame. This road bike is super stiff meaning it is responsive and fast. It’s one of the very few road bikes that manage to deliver such high-quality components for such an affordable price. 

The reliable Shimano 105 groupset will have you changing gears just for the fun of it, and the powerful disc brakes will keep you safe no matter the weather. 

It’s a race-winning piece of machinery that is as fun as it is fast, ready to tackle anything you throw at it. Whatever your riding style, the Liz may be the last bike you’ll ever want to buy.

  • Wheels: Shimano RS171

Carbon / 2×11 Shimano 105 / 700c

Buy on Backcountry.com


6. Orbea – Avant H40-D

orbea avant h40-d

MSRP: $1,699
Jenson USA

This ladies’ road bike from Orbea uses the company’s proprietary carbon fiber fork combined with a hydroformed aluminum frame to provide the smoothest ride possible at a sub-$2,000 price. The combination results in a bike that provides all the benefits of modern technology while maintaining a classic, iconic style.

Not only does it feature a reliable Shimano Tiagra with Tektro mechanical disc brakes but comes with extra tire clearance to provide a more versatile range of uses. Orbea finishes it off with their thru-axles on the front and back, internal cable routing, and high-quality Vittoria Zafiro V Rigid Bead 28mm tires. 

  • Wheels: Cosra w/ 12mm E-Thru

Aluminum frame & carbon fork / 700x28c

Buy on JensonUSA.com


7. Ridley – Fenix SLA

A lightweight ladies race bike

Ridley - Fenix SLA Disc

MSRP: $1,899
Backcountry

The Fenix SLA is a quality unisex triple-butted aluminum frame, carbon fork bike from Ridley that offers excellent value for a bike just under $2,000. Although it may not have the top-class components of some other Ridley bikes, it benefits from much of the same technology that makes Ridley a leading brand.

A 2×11-speed Shimano 105 groupset is more than sufficient for an affordable road bike, and the frame geometry carefully balances lightweight climbing ability and endurance dynamics making it perfect for long days in the saddle. You also get hydraulic disc brakes, compact gearing, and reliable Vittoria Zaffiro 25mm tires. 

Weight: 20lbs
Rims: Shimano RS171

Alloy frame & Carbon fork / 2×11 Shimano  / 700x25C

Buy from Backcountry.com


8. Pinarello – Paris

Pinarello - Paris 105

MSRP: $3,400
Backcountry

The Pinarello Paris has been a long-time favorite of competitive road cyclists for many years and continues to impress. Naturally, the women’s racing bike is just as good, with a full T600 UD carbon frame, reliable Shimano 105 gears, and top-quality Fulcrum Racing 700DB rims.

The frame design balances comfort, stiffness, and aerodynamics to provide an enjoyable and fast ride feel. The newest upgraded version of the Paris road bike has been designed with Think2 internal cable routing for improved aerodynamics and a sleek aesthetic.

In addition, you have 28mm Pinarello tires that can handle harsh road conditions, hydraulic disc brakes, and clearance for even wider 30mm tires if you want. 

  • Wheels: Fulcrum Racing 700DB

Carbon / 2x11speed Shimano 105 / 700x28c

Buy on Backcountry.com


9. Cannondale – SuperSix Evo SE

Best women’s gravel/road bike

cannondale supersix evo se

Carbon / 2×11 SRAM Rival eTap AXS / 700x40c

MSRP: $5,149
Mike’s Bikes

The SuperSix EVO is one the best Cannondale women’s bikes available, with a stiff and light carbon frame, top-quality SRAM Rival eTap AXS gears, and ultra-fast aerodynamic geometry. It’s designed for competitive racing and versatile capabilities with tire clearance up to 45mm. 

The OutFront Steering Geometry on this bike was carefully engineered to provide riders with excellent handling no matter how technical the descent is. With super-light DT Swiss CR-1600 SPLINE wheels, the SuperSix weighs an incredible 18.47lbs, making it one of the lightest on the list. 

At over $5,000 it is admittedly one of the most expensive on the list but you can’t put a price on quality like this. It’s a bike for serious cyclists with podium-winning dreams, and it delivers the goods.

  • Weight: 18.47lbs
  • Wheels: 3DT Swiss CR-1600 SPLINE

Buy on Mikesbikes.com


10. Co-op Cycles – ADV 2.3

Great beginners road bike for commuting and light riding

co-op cycles adv 2.3

MSRP: $2,399
REI

The Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 is a great bike both for the commuter, gravel rider, and road rider alike. The aluminum frame is strong and robust while a carbon fork increases front-end stiffness and shock absorption for a premium ride feel. 

Fitted with a Shimano Tiagra 11-speed with a 40t crankset and an 11-42t cassette in the back makes this bike more versatile than it appears at first glance.  The low gears allow a commuting cyclist to ride up the hills with her laptop bag and other work gear mounted to the frame. The bike’s frame comes in sizes for women between 5′ to 6’3″.

The ADV 2.3 is a gravel-specific road bike, perfect for exploring the countryside or getting lost in nature. It features thick-treaded WTB Nano TCS 700c x 40mm tires, Shimano GRX 800 hydraulic disc brakes, and an X-Fusion Manic gravel dropper post. 

If you like heading out into nature for a few days of adventure, this bike is perfect for bikepacking. Strap on a tent to the handlebars, fit a seat and frame bag and you’re ready to escape into the wild for an awesome weekend away. What are you waiting for?

Aluminum frame & carbon fork / 1×11 Shimano Tiagra / 700x40c

Buy on REI.com


11. Cannondale – CAADX 1 

An all-terrain road bike with tons of quality for a low price

cannondale caadx 1

MSRP: $1,850
REI

The Cannondale CAADX 1 provides a cyclist with speed and great handling.  Sporting a lightweight SmartForm C2 frame with a Full BallisTec carbon fork; this bike was made to move fast.

If there were a bike that was built to lean in corners in crits and carve a descend on a mountain pass; the CAADX was certainly the one! A combination of OutFront Steering Geometry and short chainstays censure this bike is stable and agile everywhere you take it. 

This bike has the ability to run tires up to 37mm wide and comes fitted with a puncture-resistant Schwalbe CX Comp 35mm setup. Outfitted with a Shimano GRX 2×10-speed drivetrain, a 46/30t chainrings, and an 11-36t cassette in the back, this bike is just the right ticket for more aggressive riding as well.

It also has internal cable routing for clean lines and aerodynamics. Finally, you have powerful Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes to finish it off. 

Buy on REI.com


12. Cervélo – Caledonia

cervelo caledonia

MSRP: $3,899
Aventuron

The Cervelo Caledonia is a race-ready road bike designed for crushing hills and taking on flats with innovative aerodynamics and a super-stiff frame. This bike also comes with a huge 34mm tire clearance to allow off-road-ready tire choices. 

The Caledonia was designed to be highly customizable with standard components that you can change up as required. As it comes, the bike is lightweight and comfortable, making you want to ride all day. It also comes with hidden mounts which you can use to add fenders or a rack for commuters or bicycle tourers. 

Notable components include the elite-level Shimano Ultegra 8020 groupset, DT Swiss E1850 23 Spline tubeless-ready wheels, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro V Folding G2.0 30c tires, and the Cervélo All-Carbon frame. Don’t miss out on the Caledonia for one of the best value deals on the market. 

Carbon frame and fork / 2×11 Shimano Ultegra 8020 /

Buy from Aventuron.com


13. Wilier – GTR Team Disc

Wilier - GTR Team Disc

MSRP: $3,249
Backcountry

The Wilier GTR Team is a women’s full-carbon endurance road bike designed specifically to be responsive, lightweight, smooth, and comfortable for riding all day long. Despite the moderate price, the GTR Team incorporates top-end design technology from one of Italy’s premier manufacturers. 

As a mid-range road bike, the GTR Team offers excellent value for money, making it the perfect work race-ready UCI-approved choice. The high-end carbon frame and Shimano 105 groupset are quality components that will provide you with years of hassle-free cycling.

Carbon frame / Shimano 105 Groupset / 700x28c

Buy from Backcountry.com

 


What are the main differences between Men’s and Women’s road bikes?

men's vs. women's road bikes

Geometry comparison between Liv Langma and Trek Émonda. Image source: bikeinsights.com screenshot

Women’s bikes are very similar to men’s bikes. In years past, bike companies would just “pink up” a men’s bike and sell them as women’s bikes.  Today, the biking industry is more fully addressing the needs of women cyclists. Although the bikes have similar geometry, there are small differences in women’s and men’s bodies as well as the difference in the way women and men ride.

Since women have wider hips, narrower shoulders, and shorter legs on average, women’s bikes have wider saddles and narrower handlebars. Women’s saddles are also shorter than men’s saddles. Some high-end saddles for women have different cut-outs for the saddle to relieve the pressure on the sensitive areas affected by the bike design.

Except for professional cyclists that have a super aerodynamic slammed stem position, most cyclists both male and female prefer a shorter reach and a more upright position.  The geometry for most women’s bikes is more endurance-oriented. The chainstays are longer for more stable handling and the headtubes are taller for a more upright position.

Women generally have shorter arms and smaller hands, therefore the stem is shorter on women’s bikes.  This allows them to reach the brake hoods and the drops easier.

Women’s legs are shorter and the standard crank arms are shorter for women’s bikes with easier gearing with front chainrings of 48T, 32T with an 11-32T cassette. This type of gearing allows casual riders to spin up the hills without too much effort.

Women’s bikes also have a sloping geometry with a lower top tube. The lower top tube allows for a lower standover height which makes it easier for shorter women to get their leg over the bike when mounting the bike and gives them the ability to hop off during an emergency.   Women’s bikes also are sized smaller many brands carry bikes down to 44 cm.

What is the best women’s road bike saddle?

The bicycle saddle is obviously one of the main differences between men’s and women’s road bikes. Women’s cycling saddles are either larger in width and shorter in length and have a gap in the middle to release the pressure from the genitals.


How to Choose

Choosing the Right Road Bike for You

After all this technical jargon you may still be asking yourself – which bike is right for me?  The two biggest factors in deciding which bike is right for a specific rider is what type of riding will the cyclist do? (commuting, racing, gravel grinding, cyclocross or bike backpack touring) and what the bike’s price point will be.

First, let’s take a look at the price range for women’s bikes.

Setting the Right Budget

  • $400 – $1,000 (ENTRY) – Bikes in this price range are usually for beginners, entry-level cyclists. These bikes usually have an alloy or steel frame with lower-end components such as Claris groupset with rim brakes, which is the lowest end of the groupset hierarchy. You will get Alloy/Steel frame, rim brakes, entry-level components.
  • $1,000 – $1,500 (ENTRY/MID) – Bikes in this price range are generally purchased by more committed cyclists.  These bikes will have Shimano 105 Groupset which is 3rd on Shimano’s hierarchy.  These higher-priced wheels almost always feature mechanical disc brakes for great stopping in all conditions. You will get Alloy frame, mechanical disc brakes, mid-entry groupset.

The Shimano 105 is a complete trickle down from the top of the range groupset Dura-Ace and will last longer with proper maintenance. Some Carbon bikes are in this range and they can be used for racing.  These higher ticket bikes are good for touring long distances and up to 100+ miles per day. Bikes in this range are light and stiff, which is good for competitive riding.

Most importantly to note is that bikes in the price range have excellent performance but the price tag will not send a buyer into sticker shock nor send her to the poor house.

  • $1,500 – $3,000 (MID RANGE) – Bikes in this price range are for serious cyclists, or for anyone who appreciates great craftsmanship and good quality.  When a rider buys a bike in this price range, she’ll most likely get a bike made of carbon fiber. These high price cycles are lighter, stiffer, and more comfortable.  In this class of bike, a buyer will receive Ultegra components which are very racy.

The cyclist will also be delighted to receive hydraulic disc brakes for the best braking and modulation in all weather conditions.  The purchaser of this class of bike is almost always an experienced cyclist that is ready to race in for grand fondues. She more than likely may be a Strava addict.

Buyers who purchase bikes at this level have a very strong desire to win their local criterium or “crit” race, get the best times on a mountain or bike across Europe.  This is a great bike for a junior racer and a nice upgrade from 105.

  • $3,000 + Competitive(MID/HIGH). This is where the selection of bikes comes the widest, and the quality of components the highest. In this range, you’ll find a lot of components that are built to save weight, perform at a high level, and bikes in this price range provide her with what she requires in terms of performance, speed, and safety. This higher ticket bike is purchased as an upgrade from the 105, or Ultegra.

Why choose a road bike over any other bike?

No matter what your level of cycling is, there is a bike for you.  If a cyclist wants to race, gravel grind, or just get to work – bikes are the past, present, and future mode of the main source of alternative transportation.  Cycling is a healthy cardiovascular sport, and as a seasoned cyclist can admit – very addictive as well!

Once a rider starts to enjoy the pleasure of racing in the wind on a high-performance machine it is almost impossible to settle for anything less. Enjoy your new adventure and tell others so they can share the joy of cycling too.

6 thoughts on “Best Road Bikes for Women

  1. suzanne galat says:

    Im 62 and ride 2x per week [email protected] ride at an average of 14MPH for 13years. I live in the city and ride lot of roads but am in interested in riding on loose pack sometimes. What do you recommend? My bike shop is talking me into a Ventrum NS1. I currently have a 12yrs FELT brand that I still love but want to upgrade. I’d like a lite bike of course too. I’m willing to spend up to 3K$ but would prefer to spend less. Thanks!

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Hi Suzanne

      As I understand you are 6’2 and 35 years old, right?
      If you’d like to explore gravel roads on a road bike geometry – I’d definitely recommend looking into gravel bikes. Those bikes are also great on city streets, and why not for touring? The Ventum seems to be a good recommendation for a performing athlete that indeed comes with a hefty price tag.

      You can get a nice gravel bike for that budget, Gravel bikes are indeed very comfortable to ride if you prefer 70% road and 30% offroad.

      See our “Main Page – ROAD – Best Gravel bikes” there are some women-specific gravel bicycles that might lead you to a more suitable path.

      Best of luck!

    2. suzanne galat says:

      hey there!
      I am 62 yrs old, 5″7″ and like to ride 2 times/ week and average of 30 miles per ride. I was wondering if the Ventum is overkill for me. Like I said I will probably keep it until Im 72 yrs old!! I just wanted your opinion based on my stats. thanks much..

      1. Sam Millers says:

        Hi Suzanne

        Sorry for the confusion.
        Short answer: Yes, it is ‘quite’ an overkill, especially if you are thinking of hitting some gravel roads. Although it is a full carbon bike, the geometry of the Ventum is designed for road use mainly.

        There are more versatile options available we’d recommend looking into 😉 Most bicycles over 1,500 USD hold their value rather well, and it happens to be that it is hard to get rid of a used high-end performance road bikes such as the Ventum in the long run.

  2. Joe says:

    Good information. I’m trying to help my wife (age 66) purchase her first serious bike. She does not like the larger/thicker top tubes and down tubes that seem to be the craze. She’s torn between a road bike and a hybrid. I’ve encouraged her toward a road bike because that is what I ride and I think it would be more versatile should she really get into bike riding with me (I average 3x/week 60-70miles) Comfort is important. She is prepared to spend up to $2,000.00

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Hi Joe

      Road bike for a 66-year old might definitely be a little rough, as road bikes are one of the more uncomfortable bikes to ride! Starting to cycling in general at this age might be a little difficult anyway. We’d recommend getting a step-through 700C wheel electric hybrid bike. Why not even a 650b wheel bike with some suspension! New bikes are light in weight, and fast as well!
      For $2,000 there is quite a good selection of bikes to choose from even at this price range!

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